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Ovarian cancer study to look at lifestyle

The Queensland Institute of Medical Research is poised to embark on Australia’s first study of lifestyle factors that could improve the survival rates of women with ovarian cancer.

More than 1000 newly diagnosed Australian women will participate in the five-year study.

The institute’s Associate Professor Penny Webb said about 1200 women recruited to the study will be asked about their diet, exercise levels, history of smoking and medications

"We are trying to answer the question that almost every woman with ovarian cancer asks - what can I do to help beat this disease?" she said.

The study will look at survival outcomes but also the quality of life of women, particularly during chemotherapy.

"Toxicity can be a big problem, often requiring drug doses to be reduced, or treatment to be delayed, and this may reduce its efficacy,” she said.

"We hope to identify things that a woman could do to help her get through treatment more easily."

The Ovarian Cancer Prognosis and Lifestyle study (OPAL) will also collect blood samples for future studies into how genetic factors might influence treatment outcomes or responses to chemotherapy drugs.

More than 1200 Australian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, with only 40 per cent surviving more than five years.


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